In Mali, students officially returned to school on October 3, 2022. Despite the effectiveness of this start of the school year, it must be noted that many schools are still closed, particularly in the north and center of the country, in cause of insecurity. The Ministry of National Education reveals that “nearly 1,500 schools” are affected by this closure.
More than a month after the opening of schools for the 2022-2023 school year, an unexpected opportunity has just presented itself to school authorities to considerably reduce the high rate of closed schools, particularly in the Timbuktu region.
Among which are: the introduction of Koranic teaching in school curricula; put girls and boys in different classes; decent clothing as required by the Muslim religion, especially for girls, when the children are on the way to school, etc.
Indeed, in a correspondence that went around social networks dated October 26, 2022, signed in Zouerat (Goundam), a Cadi (Islamic judge) sets three conditions for the reopening of closed schools in the Timbuktu region.
In this letter addressed to the Governor of the region of Timbuktu and to the school authorities, the Cadi of Zouerat, (Houka-Houka according to certain sources), indicates that following the various meetings and consultations, the religious authorities have decided to support the reopening of schools closed for the well-being of children in the Timbuktu region.
According to the terms of the correspondence, this decision started from the observation that “the children are left to themselves and are on the right path”.
“You have to occupy them with a good education. This will allow the children to get to know their religion, which is Islam, and to learn how to build a life and have a job,” the letter states.
However, the support will be provided under certain conditions which must be accepted by the school authorities and all school stakeholders. These conditions refer to the Quran and the Sunna of the Prophet Mohamed (PSL).
In total, there are three conditions which are:
First condition: “School authorities should take the decision to introduce Arabic into schools, including the Koran and its interpretation into the middle language and into all levels of education”.
Second condition: “At the level of adolescents and adolescents, for example in the second cycle and elsewhere, the rows of girls and boys should be separated by a barrier, when it is possible to separate the class.
It is desirable that girls be taught by women and boys by men when classes are separated”.
NB: When it is a class with two rows (girls and boys):
If the teacher is a man, it is desirable that he is only visible to boys and if it is a woman, that she is only visible to girls.
And finally the third condition says: “When teenagers (girls and boys) go out on the way to school, they should dress decently as the Muslim religion requires”.
While waiting to know the follow-up that will be reserved for this support proposal by the school authorities, we have not been able to confirm the actual existence of this correspondence with the regional authorities, despite our numerous requests.
On the other hand, executives and other customary authorities in the north confirmed to us the existence of the said request addressed to the authorities.
In Mali, more than three million children returned to school last month for the start of the 2022-2023 school year, officially launched on Monday October 3, 2022 by the Acting Premier, Abdoulaye MAÏGA, assistant for the occasion. a model lesson on climate change.
However, many other students were denied this right. According to UNICEF, 1,766 schools remain closed due to insecurity affecting half a million children of school age.
By Abdoulaye OUATTARA